Coalition for a Drug Free Montrose County

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Overview
The goal of the Coalition for a Drug Free Montrose County is to reduce drug, alcohol and tobacco addiction within the ten communities of Montrose County.

Because the use and abuse of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are identified problems in our County, the mission of our Coalition is to develop and implement a county-wide approach to awareness, prevention, enforcement and treatments of drugs, alcohol and tobacco use and abuse through science-based practices.

The Coalition is comprised of approximately 80 community stakeholders including:
  • Law enforcement
  • Schools
  • Private citizens
  • Health and Human Services
  • Mental health care providers
  • Medical professionals
The economic and social impacts of use and abuse of drugs, alcohol and tobacco in Montrose County are real:
  • Alcohol involvement is the first highest cause for arrest. Drug involvement is the fifth highest cause for arrest. Marijuana use continues to be a common offense.
  • Youth under the age of 18 are engaging in binge drinking. Alcohol-related traffic accidents and arrests are increasing.
  • Based on a sample of adult felony drug court offenders in Montrose, Delta and Gunnison counties, the 7th Judicial District Drug Task Force reported that the drug of choice was 38% meth, 17% alcohol, 15% marijuana, 11% prescription drugs, 11% opiates, 4% cocaine and 4% amphetamines.
  • In the last ten years, there has been a substantial increase in credit card forgery, check fraud and identify theft related to drug addiction due to the need to fund the addiction.
  • Prescription drug and club drug activity is on the rise and designer drugs are entering the market, often skirting normal strategies aimed at regulation and detection. These substances are very similar to illegal drugs in their chemical composition, effect and risks.
  • Meth related activity, although down, is still a major problem. The average age of use is 24, however, children as young as 12 have admitted to using meth.
  • Alcohol and drug abusers miss work 2.5 times more frequently than non-users; they use 3 times the amount of sick leave as non-users; their workers’ compensation claims are 5 times higher; and, they generally are less productive than non-users.
Action Committees
The Coalition consists of five committees working on separate areas of concern. These include:
  • Awareness and prevention
  • Public safety
  • Treatment
  • Drug-endangered children
  • Data collection
Awareness/Prevention Committee
The focus of this committee is to identify and implement activities that have been proven to prevent the use and/or abuse of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Activities include public relations campaigns, educational programs, and addressing some of the social issues that lead to substance abuse. This committee works with law enforcement, public and private schools, Health and Human Services, the media, and other agencies. Their mission is to reach adult community members and all middle and high school students in Montrose County’s RE-1J and the West-End’s RE-2 districts.

Public Safety Committee
Goal: To reduce the availability of illegal, club and designer drugs in Montrose County.

This committee is composed of members from varied backgrounds in public relations, educational and public services experience. The group is responsible for prevention assessment, strategies, educational activities, coordination and distribution, some public and media relations, activities and meeting notifications.

The committee works to advocate pro-active drug enforcement to reduce and/or eliminate the supply and use of drugs in Montrose County communities.

This committee also works with regional law enforcement agencies and community groups to establish drug enforcement partnerships, such as the Crime-Free Housing Program.

For reporting of suspicious drug activity and users only, the number is 970-249-2037.

Treatment Committee:
Goal: To ensure adequate treatment is available in Montrose County.

This group is committed to identifying and collaborating with various community resources to enhance treatment quality and support for the client and their loved ones, while ensuring the use of evidence-based treatment approaches and including continued assessment of barriers within our communities.

The majority of people who enter treatment are not ready to quit drinking and drugging right away, yet many of them do eventually decide to get clean and sober. Even people who drop out of treatment tend to use fewer drugs than they did before entering treatment. Substance abuse treatment similar to treatment for hypertension and diabetes, requires lifestyle changes by the individual. Our crowded jails cannot hold all those addicted, who, once released, go back to drugs and a life of crime to support their habit if they do not receive treatment. It is imperative that appropriate treatment is available.

Drug-Endangered Children (D.E.C.) Committee
This committee is composed of representatives from youth serving agencies, Kinship Connections, medical providers, care providers and community individuals.

The committee was established with these issues in mind:

Vision: The Children of Montrose County will live in a drug-free environment.

Mission: Be a resource for children and families, to collaborate and coordinate efforts between service delivery systems that provide support and education to those who are affected by the use and abuse of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. This committee is focused on education and providing resources and fun activities for children and the family members who care for them.

Data Collection Committee
This committee has a two-fold purpose: (1) to collect data from local law enforcement agencies and the state judicial system and analyze it statistically and (2) to establish and nurture relations with key community stakeholders and key state and national resources for the purpose of collecting current drug abuse information and making it available to the Coalition.

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Executive Board
Overview
The Coalition for a Drug Free Montrose County operates under the direction of a twelve-member executive board. Board members are appointed by a vote of the Coalition stakeholders and service a two-year term.

Members
  • Carol Friedrich, Deputy Director, Health and Human Services - Executive Board Chair and chairperson of the Treatment Committee
  • Sgt. Paul Eller, Montrose Police Department – Public Safety Committee
  • Chief Thomas Chinn, Montrose Police Department – Public Safety Committee
  • Sheriff Rick Dunlap, Montrose County Sheriff’s Department – Public Safety Committee
  • Gayle Davidson, Executive Director, Partners of Delta, Montrose and Ouray counties - Drug-Endangered Children Committee chairperson
  • Lance Michaels, U.S. Bank – Awareness/Prevention Committee chairperson
  • David White, Montrose County Commissioner, representative of that Board
  • Jon Gordon, Director, The Center for Mental health
  • Professor Michael C. Gizzi, Illinois State University
  • Carroll Warner, Chief Probation Officer, 7th Judicial District
  • James Clayton, District Administrator, 7th Judicial District
Call to Action
Donate
The Coalition for a Drug Free Montrose County needs funding in order to be a viable group and achieve its vision of creating a drug free Montrose County. To donate money and/or needed items, please contact us for details.

Join
Interested residents are encouraged to join a committee or the Coalition. To begin the application process, please contact our office at 970-240-8784. A “Membership Profile” and “New Membership Protocol” will be e-mailed to you, on which you may specify how you would like to be involved. You may opt to serve on one or more of our Action Committees. Once we determine your interests, we will connect you with the appropriate committee chairperson. Committees typically meet once time per month.